help with sound card recommendation.

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by dbcalo, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. dbcalo

    dbcalo New Member

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    ok, i had an audigy but unfortunately it decided it was time to up and die for no apparent reason. so for the mean time im running my lackluster on-board nvidia mcp audio.

    i was thinking about snagging one of these sound cards:

    Audigy 2:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...-102-158&catalog=57&manufactory=BROWSE&depa=0

    Audigy 2 zs:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...-102-162&catalog=57&manufactory=BROWSE&depa=0

    M-audio:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...-121-101&catalog=57&manufactory=BROWSE&depa=0

    Turtle beach santa cruz:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...-118-101&catalog=57&manufactory=BROWSE&depa=0

    Chaintech AV-710:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...atalog=57&manufactory=BROWSE&depa=0&section=3

    Basically im interested in getting the best sound quality and gaming performance. which one of these cards should it get. if anyone has any other cards they know about feel free to interject.

    i was leaning more tward the audigy zs or the m-audio.
     
  2. TwistedMetal

    TwistedMetal MC John-117

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    Audigy 2 zs is probably the best right now.
     
  3. dbcalo

    dbcalo New Member

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    is the chaintech basically the same as the m-audio because it has the same chip?
     
  4. swimtech

    swimtech Well-Known Member

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    Basically the same (functionally) yes, quality wise no. The M-Audio has much better specs because of the capacitors, resisitors, and other components used in their design - the components that support the chip are better and more numerous. The software that comes with the M-Audio is worlds away better as well...

    Is your onboard audio the N-Vidia "Soundstorm"? If so, you will not get any (reasonably) better CPU usage figures with any other card on the market. The sound with either of the cards you're "leaning toward" will be noticeably better over the Soundstorm audio only with good speakers as well. Again, that is if your onboard audio is the Soundstorm.

    What make and model of mainboard do you have?
     
  5. dbcalo

    dbcalo New Member

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    i put my system specs in my sig. no, it is not a soundstorm which is the main reason why im looking for a replacement. also for future reference sound storm is "mcp-t" and basic onboard is "mcp".

    is the m-audio worth the extra money over the chaintech?

    the speakers are two nakamichi s-1a's. the speakers are connected to a 400watt pioneer vsx-454.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2004
  6. swimtech

    swimtech Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback on the N-Vid audio chipset designation, I had wondered.

    I was considering the very same Chaintech card a few months ago, and decided to hold off, primarily because I had never heard from a person who had listened to and used it in their system, or seen a review of it anywhere.

    I use the built in audio codec within the VIA chipset in the computer below at home, and decided it was good enough until either more Envy chip boards come out or I could afford the M-Audio (sound quality is important to me). So, the value judgement is diffucult to call - but I would say absolutely.

    This subject has been discussed here before - you can search, and my opinion is the M-Audio for music, the Audigy 2ZS for games - depends on your priorities...

    From your speakers and receiver, I would say you enjoy quality musical reproduction - the M-Audio would do nicely, and the latest drivers keep CPU usage to a minimum. There was a reference to a review of an Envy based card in the news here this past month or so, and they reviewed and compared it to an Audigy2 ZS, the M-Audio Rev, and a Hercules Fortissimo card, very interesting reading! Search it in the news here for the link if you care to...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2004
  7. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    newegg don't have Hercules cards?
     
  8. dbcalo

    dbcalo New Member

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    they do. is the fortissimo III a good card?
     
  9. Necrosis

    Necrosis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it's a pretty decent card.
     
  10. swimtech

    swimtech Well-Known Member

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    Helllloooo, didn't know it was only 45.00 - retail! Free shipping, hmmmm...

    Excellent value.

    Yeah, this could be a tough choice. Any of the three is a big step up from what you have now.
     
  11. Necrosis

    Necrosis Well-Known Member

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    Sheesh....

    I can't believe my M-Audio card is more expensive now than when I bought it!!! Hmm..but guys are gonna kill me what I tell you I found late last year CompUSA was selling the Rev's for around $59.00!!!!
     
  12. swimtech

    swimtech Well-Known Member

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    You did tell me, and I really wanted to, just couldn't - I appreciated your tip though...

    Musically, it's the best of the three, no doubt. Graphs don't lie (but they don't tell everything either...).
     
  13. Necrosis

    Necrosis Well-Known Member

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    I haven't heard the ZS but indeed it's better for music & movies than my A2. Games weren't too shabby either.
     
  14. mkk

    mkk Well-Known Member

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    I wish for a card based on EMU 10k2 that is not made by Creative Labs. But I haven't seen any and guess there won't be one either. So while still wishing I'll wait for the ZS price to fall.
     
  15. DallasStar

    DallasStar Junior

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    Now that i've looked in to it, I think I'd prefer the Audigy 2 ZS out of all of those. Sure MAudio may be somewhat better (if at all) in sound quality, but from what I've read, it will mute the sound if you have anything connected to the line in because its line-in is intended solely for recording purposes. Thus, if this is true, TV cards can not be used with this soundcard, which, in my opinion, is unacceptable (but it might be alright for some person who loves to record etc). The Audigy 2 ZS, on the other hand, does not suffer from this problem. In addition, ZS does the hardware decoding of surround sound too, so there is no more need of an external decoder. This makes it great for movies. Also, the Audigy 2 ZS, according to many of you, is "great for games." That's always a plus.
     
  16. Vampyromaniac

    Vampyromaniac confutatis maledictis

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    Not exactly true, dallasstar. There is a quirk that there is no output level for Line-In or Mic. If you want to hear what's being inputted, you just have to enable Direct Monitoring. Another quirk is that the Line-In and Mic recording levels are tied together, meaning there is one recording volume controller for both inputs. If you mute it, both Line-in and Mic are muted; changing the level changes both the levels.

    The card does indeed work with TV-cards, in my case the AIW 9700 Pro. But you have to enable Direct Monitoring, like I said.

    I was lucky enough to get the M-Audio back then for cheap too :D
     
  17. Necrosis

    Necrosis Well-Known Member

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    Aaah yeah man I forgot you bought one too...how do you like it so far?
     
  18. Vampyromaniac

    Vampyromaniac confutatis maledictis

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    Aside from those quirks, it's grrreat!! Music never sounded better than with M-Audio + Klipsch


    btw... you said you haven't heard the ZS, but there's Audigy 2 ZS in your sig? :confused:
     
  19. Necrosis

    Necrosis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I bought one today.
     
  20. Vampyromaniac

    Vampyromaniac confutatis maledictis

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    Aaah, cool ;)
     

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